13 August 2008

ThinkGeek Plug

I just reviewed my blog posts from the last few months and I realized that I have been extremely remiss in not passing along a link to my new favorite e-store, ThinkGeek.com. The miniSavants were oh-so-very good to DaddySavant this year for Father's Day: The binary clock has earned a feature spot on one of my cubicle shelves, squarely between my Bob Uecker bobblehead and my rack of Noise News International back issues.
I would strongly encourage those among you who have zeroes and ones in your blood and every episode of Dr. Who on your DVR to pass along the link to ThinkGeek.com to friends and family right around holiday shopping season. My email to Savant family members will read something like, "If you're thinking about buying anything for me this year, everything for sale at ThinkGeek.com is on my wish list." (Except the binary clock...but I could always use another one for my home office!!! 8^D )

07 August 2008

Sad but Probably True

Got this link today from a colleague. A bit morbid and over-the-top (I hope), but the message (sadly) rings true.
Enjoy. :)

01 August 2008

Conference Cost Blues

So, I attended a conference earlier this week. I go to these sorts of things about once a year. (Used to be even more often, but I've been cutting back. :) Usually, these things involve a coming-together of colleagues, lengthy discussions about the goings-on in the industry, the making of new friends, and the catching up with old ones. Unfortunately, they also involve ridiculous wastes of money.
To their credit, the conference organizers will arrange to hold their annual (or semi-annual) events in a large hotel with ample conference meeting space and amenities so as to miminize the attendees' headaches when it comes to travel. There are often one or more restaurants right there in the hotel, a gift shop to purchase the shaving cream you forgot to bring, and even (but not always) a shuttle from the airport. (At the very least, a relatively inexpensive cab ride.) But all of this costs money. Bottled water in the gift shop will cost just a hair less than the $5.00 per half-liter that's "conveniently" in your room. Meals in the restaurant will not exactly be "affordable." But, people are often traveling on business and these are necessary (but not always welcomed or justified) expenditures to keep the business wheels a-turning.
But where is the line drawn? I attended a conference once at a hotel that was walking distance from several low- to medium-budget chain hotels. I stayed in one of these and paid roughly 50-60% of what I would have paid per night at the high-dollar conference hotel next door. My breakfast was free. Parking, should I have had a rental, would have been free. Internet access? Free. Next door, where room costs are markedly higher, Internet access was an additional $10 per day. Breakfast was only available in the restaurants - not free. Parking was valet for $20 per day or u-park-it for $15.
Is the added cost of parking due to real estate prices? Not likely since the medium-budget place I stayed in seemed to be managing just fine.
Is the added Internet access charge because they have lightning-fast connections? Not likely. (If you've ever paid for this "luxury" you know what I'm talking about.)
Most importantly, the rooms were not any better or worse at my medium-budget hotel than they were next door.
Of course, I guess the high-dollar place couldn't exactly be high-dollar if it weren't for all the extra nickel-and-diming...